Too-hot cookies will likely fall apart in your hands. However, as we all know, warm cookies are a wonderful thing. So, let your cookies cool just until they hold their shape (generally after about 5 minutes on a cookie cooling rack) and savor them warm while you can.
Most cookies are still soft when done (they harden as they cool) and will continue to bake on the cookie sheet once removed from the oven. Remove cookies from the cookie sheet as soon as they are firm enough to transfer, using a spatula, to a cooling rack or paper towels to finish cooling.
Bake for 11-12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
For chewy cookies, allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 3 to 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. For crispier cookies, let cookies cool for one minute on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
In general, baked cookies will be fine at room temperature for about five days, but only if stored correctly. For most kinds of cookies, there are essentially two ways to store them: in an airtight container at room temperature or in the freezer.
Why Do Cookies Get Hard? Like all baked treats, cookies are subject to getting stale. Over time, the moisture in the cookies evaporates, leaving them stiff and crumbly. It’s the same thing that happens to breads, muffins, and other baked goods.
When a light-colored cookie is done, it should hold its shape. However, it may look a bit puffy or soft in the center, too. This is normal and simply means that the cookie may continue baking on the sheet and rack once removed from the oven.
Keeping them on the sheet too long after baking can cause them to get hard or stick to the sheet. Cookies are done when they are firmly set and lightly browned. When you touch them lightly with your finger, almost no imprint will remain.
Decorating the cookies. This is a little difficult to estimate and you’ll have some down time here. Assuming you have 24-30 cookies, you’ll need to prep your icing bag and outline your cookies. For a simple outline, allow 30 minutes.
A cooling rack is ideal here for a very important reason. Cooling cookies on a rack allows for more airflow around the cookies and cools them off more quickly (via Better Homes and Gardens). Cookies left on a hot cookie sheet will continue to cook for several minutes even after coming out of the oven.
Don’t rush! When you start decorating your cookies before they are completely 100% cool, the icing will melt. Make sure each batch is cooled before you begin to add the icing. Our Test Kitchen recommends decorating your cookies the day after you bake ’em.